Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member Gonzalez Blasts Florida Voter Purge
San Antonio – In the face of a massive effort to remove Florida voters from the electoral rolls shortly before the state’s primary, Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20), released the following statement:
“In April, 2011, at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Elections, I questioned Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler about his claims that non-citizens were registered to vote in Colorado. As was demonstrated at that hearing, the claims were based on shoddy analysis of the data and gross exaggeration. Cursory analysis proved how ridiculous they were. When Secretary Gessler later tried to deny military voters the right to vote, a judge blocked his efforts. I hoped that his failures would encourage not just Sec. Gessler but election officials across the country to respect their citizens’ right to vote.
“That is why it is so disturbing to see Florida engaging in precisely the same efforts as Colorado, using the same flawed methodology to hype claims that non-citizens are voting. A similar purge before the 2000 election denied thousands of Floridians the right to vote in that election, and the US Commission on Civil Rights condemned then-Governor Jeb Bush for it. We saw the same things in Florida before the elections in 2004 and 2008. Fortunately, the errors in the current push are already being pointed out, with one election official having posted a picture with one of the purported non-citizens holding up his United States citizen passport. Florida Governor Rick Scott pushed for this purge by hyping fears of voter fraud, but he could offer no proof.
“The simple fact is that allegations of voter fraud never pan out. In 2006, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott put out a press release entitled, “Let’s Stamp Out Voter Fraud in Texas”, but couldn’t name a single case of a fraud that would have been stopped by voter ID. The Bush Administration spent five years and millions of dollars to find a fraud rate of 0.0000004%. That’s four in 10 million. Claims of voter fraud this year have been repeatedly debunked. But voter suppression is all too real.
“Voting is the most fundamental right of our democratic republic. It’s why our two major political parties are called Democrats and Republicans, because we all should believe in encouraging participation in the electoral process. We must all stand against the, at best, misguided efforts to deny our fellow citizens their constitutionally protected right to vote, a right for which so many have fought and bled and died over the centuries. I urge Governor Scott and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to halt this shameful effort from purging legitimate, eligible voters from the voter rolls. We should be working together to encourage voting, not suppressing the vote.”